Mama Lisa's World
International Music & Culture
Hoppe, hoppe, Reiter
(German Lap Rhyme)
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This is a lap rhyme where you put the kid on your lap and pretend they're riding a horse.

Many people seem to sing the 3rd verse only.

Hoppe, hoppe, Reiter
Hop, Hop, Rider
Lap Rhyme
(German)
Lap Rhyme
(English)

Hoppe, hoppe, Reiter - German Children's Songs - Germany - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World, Intro Image


Hoppe, hoppe, Reiter,
Wenn er fällt, dann schreit er.
Fällt er in die Hecken,
Tut er sich erschrecken.
Fällt er in den Sumpf
Macht der Reiter plumps!

Hoppe, hoppe, Reiter,
Wenn er fällt, dann schreit er.
Fällt er auf die Steine,
Tun ihm weh die Beine.
Fällt er in den Sumpf
Macht der Reiter plumps!

Hoppe, hoppe, Reiter
Wenn er fällt, dann schreit er
Fällt er in den Graben
Fressen ihn die Raben
Fällt er in den Sumpf
Macht der Reiter plumps!

Hop, hop, rider,
If he falls, he will cry.
If he falls into the hedges,
He will get frightened.
If he falls into the mud,
The rider falls with a splash!

Hop, hop, rider,
If he falls, he will cry.
If he falls on the stone,
His leg will get hurt.
If he falls into the mud,
The rider falls with a splash!

Hop, hop, rider
If he falls he will cry.
If he falls into the ditch,
He will be eaten by the ravens.
If he falls into the mud,
The rider falls with a splash!
 
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Notes

I created this alternate English translation below of "Hoppe, hoppe, Reiter", based on an email I received from Alecia. Here's what Alecia wrote, "...the lines (in the translation) about being eaten by ravens, being frightened and hurting his legs are all active, not passive in the German version (i.e. 'the ravens eat him', 'he gives himself a fright' and 'he hurts his legs'). I suppose it's hard to translate some things anyway. For example only the second line of each verse has the word "if" in the German version, but the pattern and meaning of the other lines indicate "if", it's just not used. And the last line of each verse is literally "the rider makes a splash" but this doesn't sound as 'right' in English as it does in German, I suppose because we have a specific idiomatic meaning for "make a splash" in English."

I made some stylistic changes to the translation below too. I think in English "Hop, Rider, Hop" sounds better, and is easier to say, than "Hop, hop, rider" - even though "Hop, hop, rider" is a direct translation of the German. -Mama Lisa

Hop, Rider, Hop

Hop, rider, hop,
If he falls, then he shouts…
He falls into the hedges,
He frightens himself,
He falls into the swamp,
The rider makes a splash!

Hop, rider, hop,
If he falls, then he shouts…
He falls on the stones,
He hurts his legs,
He falls into the swamp,
The rider makes a splash!

Hop, rider, hop,
If he falls, then he shouts…
He falls into the ditch,
The ravens eat him,
He falls into the swamp,
The rider makes a splash!

Game Instructions

Sit the child on your knees and bounce him/her up and down in time to the rhyme. Then on the last line of each verse ("macht der reiter plumps!"), spread your knees and gently lean the child back towards the floor on the last word.

Photos & Illustrations

Hoppe, hoppe, Reiter - German Children's Songs - Germany - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World, Comment Image

Comments

Alecia wrote, "Just wanted to say thanks first of all. I was looking for a rhyme my father used to sing to me when I was little (he died a few years ago and no one else in my family could remember it, not being German as he was) and you have it on your website, so I was very pleased. It's the 'Hoppe, hoppe reiter' one, he used to sit me on his knees and bounce me up and down in time to it and then on the last line of each verse ('macht der reiter plumps!') he would spread his knees and 'drop' me to the floor on the last word, which I thought was hilarious as little kid!"

*****

Phil wrote:

"I was born in Sept, 1945 and during my childhood my father used to bounce my sister or me on his knees to this wonderful little rhyme, only a few words of which I could recall until now, having discovered this webpage. He added a bit of poetic license to build suspense (for a little kid). He would repeat the last line of the verse placing accent on the last word (plumps) and the repeat it again with multiple 'plumps' as he spread his knees and 'dropped' us to the floor. My one-year-old grandson now loves this exercise with Grandpa and I'm delighted to now be able to repeat the 'Hoppe, hoppe, Reiter' rhyme correctly. Thanks."

Phil Priemer (Dad was Karl)
Wilmington, IL

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Many thanks to INTER-COM Translations for contributing and translating the first verse of this rhyme (edited by Lisa). Many thanks also to Ulrike Bernhard for contributing the 2nd and 3rd verses of this song, to Maguy Cabrol and Monique Palomares for help with the translation and to Monique Palomares for creating the midi music. Thanks to Alecia for her helpful comments about the translation and for letting us know how to play the game!

Images: "The Panjandrum Picture Book" by Randolph Caldecott (Edited by Mama Lisa).

Vielen Dank!

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